Friday, April 27, 2012

Community 2.0 Agenda: Friday, April 27 10:00 AM-1:00PM

Community 2.0 Agenda   
Friday, April 27
10:00 AM-1:00PM

10:00-10:05: Welcome Back
10:05-10:40: Discussion of Designing for Difficulty: Social Pedagogies as a Framework for Course Design in Undergraduate Education
10:40-11:00: Check-in Time Questionnaire in Google Forms 
 Responses HERE

11:00-11:40: The Nitty Gritty Activity Report
11:40-11:50: BREAK
11:50-12:50: Diigo Workshop with C2.0 group

Diigo refresher video HERE

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do Past Experiences Predict Future Progress?

Could it be true that past experience in mathematic is a predictor for student future success?

Perhaps there is some evidence or research out there that may validate the statement that students who may have had unpleasant experiences in mathematics tend to find it more challenging to be successful at it.  An unpleasant experience may not just be the struggle to learn the concepts and formulas to solve problems, but the very personal interaction between students and teachers. In one of our recent survey of students about their past experience revealed some interesting results. About 42% of these students had some form of unpleasant experience before taking our classes. These experiences ranged from having difficulties understanding the material to unsupportive feedback from teachers. Could it be that this discouraging support led to these students frustration, inability to do math and eventually lack of self-confidence and self-esteem? Coincidentally, a sample of our basic skills courses reflect about the same percent of students failing our basic skills course. Maybe we need to explore ways of easing the pain of students past experiences and lead them into a progressive path. Is Web 2.0 helping my students who may have similar experiences to overcome these challenges? Preliminary data seems to indicate a positive trend, but it is still too some to celebrate. Hopefully, my students is enjoying the new technological tools.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New TED-Ed Site Turns YouTube Videos Into ‘Flipped’ Lessons

April 25, 2012, 12:01 am
YouTube holds a rich trove of videos that could be used in the classroom, but it’s challenging to transform videos into a truly interactive part of a lesson. So the nonprofit group TED has unveiled a new Web site that it hopes will solve this problem—by organizing educational videos and letting professors “flip” them to enhance their lectures. The new Web site, unveiled today, lets professors turn TED’s educational videos—as well as any video on YouTube—into interactive lessons inspired by the “flipped” classroom model. The site’s introduction is the second phase of an education-focused effort called TED-Ed, which began last month when the group released a series of highly produced, animated videos on a new YouTube channel.

In class group 2.0 with netbooks

In my philosophy of art class I gave a group inquiry assignment on the question “What is Art?” The assignment consists of several parts, including their first pre-theoretic thought about the answer, selecting a painting from the MOMA website, describing and discussing the painting, and finally giving a group presentation. I used the six netbooks we have and it worked great in the E building but hardly at all in the C building, which has problems with internet connections.

Groups of 3-4 students selected a painting of their choice by looking through a number of paintings on the MOMA site. They had about 20-30 minutes to find one they liked, and in the process they looked at many paintings, which they also considered and which they recognized when we went to the museum 2 weeks later. They could also make entries to the class blog during class and I was quite happy with the presentations at the end of the project.

So, I recommend using the netbooks for group 2.0 in class assignment, as long as you are not in the C building.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peer Exchange: 220/101 Round Three

Justin Rogers-Cooper

Bloom's Taxonomy: Application, Analysis, Evaluation

Before my 220 students turned to Professor Smith's ENG 099s last week, they kept on with the ENG 101 students. To switch things up a bit, I had them give feedback to my ENG 101 Ethics of Food class. The Ethics of Food students had a tough assignment, and it was interesting to walk the 220s through the world of my 101 food ethics. 

The issues that came up were not the same as the first couple times. First time around, they were nervous. At this point, it became a matter of encouraging and directing them to make specific comments. 

How Did It Go

The blog comments are good for the 220s because they build confidence for tutoring, and they're good for the 101s because they get to receive extended comments on low-stakes work. This saves me a lot of time, too, because the best I can do during the week is incorporate what the 101 students are writing about into discussion, not give them extended comments on blogs. The 220s can provide attention to specific skills. 

The skills the 220 try to promote are, relative to Tutoring Writing and pedagogy, familiar: evaluate how the blog did or didn't fulfill on the assignment, evaluate the structure and ideas of the blog, and provide some specific suggestions for making the blog readable to an outside audience. 


Note: Since I repeated this assignment between 220 and 101 AND 101, you might notice in example three how both students are able to respond from slightly different perspectives. 


I've grown satisfied that the kind of work students do with peer evaluation can be effective, comprehensive, and helpful. The 220 students, for whatever reason, take on a real sense of connection to the 101s. I can tell these students want to be teachers (they're all education majors). They feel a sense of responsibility to the blogs and to the students that wrote them. The blog comments allows them a vehicle to channel this. 

The 101 students can also demonstrate a newfound confidence through their blog comment assignment. You can see this from the third example above. They enjoy having the chance to comment upon the skills they're learning in their own class. They're able to see how the same skills can be evaluated in other student writing, even when that writing is about different content. I actually think that's how the skills can become more identifiable - the students need to see them separated from the content they're more familiar with. 

For both classes, there is a sense of connection and intimacy that occurs through this process that might encourage them to think more broadly about their status as LaGuardia students. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Text 2.0

Even though I attended lots of sessions at 4Cs, spring break happened so I did not really have time to reflect on what I experienced other than my own session. But thinking back to it, there were lots of discussions similar to what we have been having at this seminar about the changing nature of writing and text. The narrative follows the line that composing on word processor was the last major shift: before this writers had the options of discarding or rewriting, but not reshaping text. The fluid nature of entities from paragraph to whole essay was a major sea change in our thinking about writing, and there were of course the lamentations for what we lost: we would never  again have the first draft of Hemingway's stories or The Waste Land or Dickinson's poems because writers would only save the final draft (I know there is an obvious gap in logic, because the same writers who would save previous drafts would also save previous versions on pc, but never mind).

The next change is, lots of speakers claimed, interactivity. Writers are getting used to instant feedback, from comments to hitting "like" on facebook to what not, as well as enhanced text qualities incorporating videos, photos, etc. In one session they actually talked about how two different groups of learners, non-traditional and traditional college age saw an enhanced text, with the former group focusing primarily on text, then pictures, and finally video and the latter having the order of pictures, then video, then text in trying to create meaning out of the text. As one speaker noted. "at this point if you are teaching a novel that has been made into a movie and there is no dedicated part of the class time to discussing the movie, students will consider that you robbed them of an experience." She noted that showing the movie was not necessary, but ignoring it, especially if recent one (she mentioned Jane Eyre), was for her students ignoring the text--for better or worse her students considered the movie part of the enhanced Charlotte Bronte text.

Back to the feedback issue, I have seen that with peer review--students do not mind giving "comments" if they are so labelled, even if they are critical, but using a different nomenclature, like "critique," short-circuits them. Also, the more back and forth they have between them in their blogs, the less resistant they are to both giving and receiving feedback--which may be their getting used to the process or getting used to seeing their blogs as another one of the platforms to which they respond to others' writing, as they do on twitter, facebook, etc. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blogger App & Mobile Blog

HUA191: The Art of Eastern Asia, Fridays 10:10am-1:30pm in Fall 2012.

What's AMAZING about Blogger App & Mobile Blog:

  • I can locate my students with GPS every time they post (!!!!!). Also, they can locate me drawing from art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, anytime when I publish a post at the museum.
  • In the fall, all of my students are required to create a blog, as usual, but this time, on a smartphone. They blog about something Asian in New York City. This probably means posting a photo every week and commenting on each other's post(s) every other week, or along those lines. If someone does not own a smartphone, she does it on a computer or makes friends who have smartphones. The only way to get ahead in the society is through your generous act!
  • My students can email me, call me, text me, or create a blog post for me (this last one actually happened last semester), for extra help.
  • No more museum stubs! Yay!

By the way, I started to use my android phone for my very first mobile blog and thought about posting something on this blog (early this semester, I had problems creating the mobile blog on Blogger, which significantly slowed me down, but it seems those malfunctions have been fixed).

The Metropolitan Museum now says that the right hand of the model in the Picasso painting above is the "Abhaya Mudra" gesture from Buddhist sculptures, as in this picture, which I found a bit ridiculous and yet very funny.

Dissertation on Blogging in an ESL Community College Writing Class

I was doing some online research and found this dissertation on blogging in an ESL class:

Monday, April 16, 2012

How can college change your life?

Hi all,
As I read your postings I find I identify with students who are struggling to incorporate web 2.0 platforms into their course work. Since September I've experimented with three different blog formats-nothing quite captured the idea I had in mind. I began to question the validity of the idea but persevered anyway. I've settled on using NING to facilitate a dialog among students, and hopefully faculty and staff. 
Students want advice from faculty about courses take while at LaGuardia, senior colleges to consider, ideas about the majors they can pursue to achieve their goals and so on. The student faculty ratio can make that connection a challenge. I hope this NING site will spark discussion on topics of importance to students.
The first topic is “How can college change your life?” I selected this topic because I currently serve on several college-wide committees that are examining the many reasons students don’t graduate. Although their reasons are complex students need inspiration – need to hear how college changed your life. What’s your story?
I’m just getting the site off the ground but I hope you will visit at link, write a few sentences and maybe invite your students to visit too. I welcome your comments. I want to give a shout out to Ximena who spent time getting me started.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Practice, practice, praxis!

This semester students have responded to using Web 2.0 platforms in a range of ways: Some have taken to the whole blog infrastructure like fish to water. No problemo. Others need extra help setting it up and practicing; they’re getting it. Others get it, yet have not kept up. Students come to class using their iPads, iPhones (and other smartphones), laptops, and—this is a throwback!—notebooks of the paper variety. We have two hours scheduled in a computer lab and one hour scheduled in a smartroom.
Incorporating a mindset of Web 2.0 with college courses seems to be an acquired practice: One person does not have Internet at home, has never complained about the unexpected burden of being required to use it, and even offered that he would need to adjust his schedule to get to a computer lab in time—yet he hasn’t gotten there yet! One person who is absolutely brilliant with the course content has yet to add any posts to her blog, which she finally made three weeks into the course. Yikes. (I don’t think these students would necessarily have pulled it together even if the whole class were pen and paper. But still…)
I don’t think a facility with technology or Web 2.0 is a key determiner to success in this course. (My success and the students' success.) Rather, it has more to do with practice.
Incorporating technology/Web 2.0 as a way to facilitate learning (and not dominate) the course remains a challenge for me as a teacher. As I reflect on this and tweak my expectations and requirements, I find it helps to keep in mind why I am doing this in the first place.
Okay: Why am I doing this in the first place? What kinds of practices do I want in my course? I’ve come up with three:
1. Practice building community: It doesn’t come easy or made to order. It’s contingent on feeling safe with and interested in others.
2. Practice learning how to learn using new or unfamiliar technologies/Web 2.0 platforms; practice demonstrating one’s knowledge using technology and Web 2.0. How might I use hyperlinks, images, videos, audio, etc. to illustrate and support my point? (It shocked me the other day when a student pulled out a handwritten bluebook exam to show me the responses her professor had given her on her exam. It seemed so retro, I had to remind myself that it is still very much part of college culture. I am so used to being able to reflect on, add to, and revise my own comments before sharing with my students. What happens to all this writing in bluebooks? Access to Web 2.0 documents (this semester, I’m using Google Docs) allows me to keep an archive of our class writing and responses. Where do all the comments in these bluebooks go? How do they "add up" for the student? For the teacher?)
3. Practice—as in praxis: How does the experience itself of designing and composing using technology/Web 2.0 shapes us as meaning makers?
These practices are necessarily integrated: knowing and imagining to whom we are communicating, to whom we are demonstrating/sharing our knowledge necessarily shapes what we learn and how we show it. Or not.
But as I have tried to demonstrate (I’m still learning! Still and always practicing myself!) in the visual above, the elements of practice are “in the air” in this course this semester; some students are *happier* about it than others. (Of course there are other elements in the course (e.g., the content!) and other things going on in their lives that impact their experiences.) 
I think with practice, I can get better at creating a facilitating environment for praxis to occur side by side or even as part and parcel of the content itself. 
To be continued... 
P.S. Okay: I composed this on Word, cut/pasted here, lost my format, which I've tried (only half successfully) to recreate. Ugh. I feel my students' pain! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

This Week's Reflection

I assume everyone under 30 lives in a vast techno-world with Twitter, Facebook, smartphones and texting. However, when it comes to BLOGGING I hit the brick wall with them. This week has been a major struggle helping them understand how to blog. I had them all set up for the Gmail account and that went "almost" flawless. However, when I invited them to post on the class blog more than a few indicated to me that they had neither ever looked at a blog or understood how it worked.
One decided upon herself after I had discussed with her to text the entire post to me...My poor phone was overtaken by this lengthy set of text message...14 to be exact. We have cleared that up now and I think I have the majority of them on track to actually to do their first time ever postings.
Trying to do all of this in a totally on line using various forms of media to convey the message has been a different learning experience for me than in any other semester.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Week 5

The new WebAttendance system does not seem to be optimized yet for hybrid-online courses with asynchronous content. The new "Online Attendance" roster makes sense, considering that some of the course content for a hybrid needs to be completed online. However, the online hour in my hybrid classes is conducted asynchronously, which means that the students have a full seven-day period to complete the weekly content. Since the census period for attendance just ended, I have been locked out of recording the week of attendance that was still in effect. I now need to send the missing attendance information to someone in the Office of the Registrar to have them input it. Is anyone else who is teaching a hybrid experiencing this problem? Is there anything that I can do to fix this issue in future semesters? It seems like classes with an Online Attendance roster should have an extended census period, but I'm sure that this is not easily changed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Selective Grading (OR: How to not correct all writing homework)

I attended TESOL International this past week and was inspired a few times.  One session that promised to give us ideas on how NOT to correct every piece of writing students do caught my eye and I attended the session.

Tips/Ideas the presenter gave:

  • Collect papers (paragraphs or essays) and don't correct them.  Hold them a few days/a week and then give them back to students, saying "I've read your papers but some of them are not so good... so I'm going to give you a second chance." By this time students have forgotten what they wrote and ask if they can use dictionaries or work together - exactly what we would have wanted them to do in a peer review partner activity.
  • Have students hold on to short writing pieces/practices done in class.  At the end of the week, select 2 to collect and correct.  Students are all scrambling to find them, hoping they have them...
  • Ask students to take something they've written and insert something into it (e.g., use 3 of the vocabulary words we've studied from our text, inserting them into your paper - grade on the words being used correctly; OR add a few citations correctly into the paper-grade on the citations being used correctly)
  • Have students work in small groups to edit sentences, form correct sentences, write thesis statements, etc. and all (7) groups write theirs on the board.  Other students can comment/make editing suggestions, then all sentences discussed (nothing to grade at home)
  • Select SOME students' work and correct in front of the class (not all Ss' work corrected)

So some of these sound like good ideas, but when our students write, they expect to get feedback and corrections on everything, I feel.  Particularly things they write on paper.  I can give global comments on the blog posts, showcase a few in class, and they comment on each others' and it is low stakes, in my class.  But students really want feedback on each paper or assignment they turn in, I feel.  Do you think these ideas would work?  How do you lessen the workload, particularly for small assignments (not essays) that are less important?


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 4 Reflection

This week I took both of my Intro classes on field trips to MoMA PS1. This is always one of my favorite field trips for the semester. PS1 displays some of the most experimental new artwork, and I enjoy the challenge of engaging my students with this work. Their corresponding reaction essay is entitled "The Good, the Bad and the Misunderstood". For this paper, they must select three artworks currently on display: one they like, one they dislike and one they do not understand. Students must consider whether they can appreciate a work of art that is not their personal taste, and whether a work of art must spell out all of the answers to be successful. It's around this point in the semester where I make it clear that my role in the class is not that of "Defender of Art". Not everything that I present in class is within my own personal taste. Rather, I try to engage my students with a wide spectrum of work, hoping that they can find something that they personally connect with. You can see the field trip #2 guidelines on the class blog:

PS: The Blackboard test-taking issue from last week seems to have been solved. Firefox 11 is just not compatible.